crime writers will be meeting real-life versions of their characters
when they join leading forensic scientists and criminal investigators
in Edinburgh on Hallowe'en.
Ian Rankin - whose most famous character is Inspector John Rebus -
Louise Welsh, Zoe Strachan and Lin Anderson are among a dozen authors
who will get to grips with the latest scientific developments in
forensics at a major international conference organised by the Macaulay
Institute in Aberdeen on soil forensics.
Professor David Miller, research leader at the institute, said: "We
invited the crime writers because they have to ensure their credibility
by writing accurate information on what you do in forensic analysis.
They also want to know what is at the cutting edge, which they can
incorporate into their books."
Miller said he hoped a few of the writers would incorporate soil forensics in their next piece of work.
"If one or more go away with a germ of an idea, or a new piece of
information they can deploy, that would be excellent because then
they've gained something from it."
Crime writer Lin Anderson's main character, Rhona MacLeod, is a
forensic scientist so she was delighted to be invited to the Murder
Mystery And Microscopes evening.
"A couple of years ago I did the Forensic Medical Science Diploma at
Glasgow University. It was fabulous because you could talk and listen
to people who really knew what they were talking about. Any research
development makes my work even more interesting and is an ongoing part
of the story-telling process.
"There's no doubt it provides the colour and definitely stimulates
ideas. Often what happens is that little anecdotes come out when they
are trying to tell you a story, which makes it very human."
Anderson's latest book Easy Kill, which will be released next September, touches on soil forensics.
"I did a lot of research around the Necropolis and on bodies that
are hidden. The soil forensic conference is going to prove very
interesting because I'll be able to check up some facts in my
Among the speakers attending the conference, which begins on Tuesday, is Patricia Wiltshire who has used soil
forensics in high-profile cases such as the Sarah Payne and Soham murders.